Street Freak by Jared Dillian
Money and Madness at Lehman Brothers

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When Jared Dillian joined Lehman Brothers in 2001, he fulfilled a life-long dream to make it on Wall Street—but he had no idea how close to the edge the job would take him.

Like Michael Lewis’s classic Liar’s Poker, Jared Dillian’s Street Freak takes readers behind the scenes of the legendary Lehman Brothers, exposing its outrageous and often hilarious corporate culture.

In this ultracompetitive Ivy League world where men would flip over each other’s ties to check out the labels (also known as the “Lehman Handshake”), Dillian was an outsider as an ex-military, working-class guy in a Men’s Wearhouse suit. But he was scrappy and determined; in interviews he told potential managers that, “Nobody can work harder than me. Nobody is willing to put in the hours I will put in. I am insane.” As it turned out, on Wall Street insanity is not an undesirable quality.

Dillian rose from green associate, checking IDs at the entrance to the trading floor in the paranoid days following 9/11, to become an integral part of Lehman’s culture in its final years as the firm’s head Exchange-Traded Fund (ETF) trader. More than $1 trillion in wealth passed through his hands, but at the cost of an untold number of smashed telephones and tape dispensers. Over time, the exhilarating and explosively stressful job took its toll on him. The extreme highs and lows of the trading floor masked and exacerbated the symptoms of Dillian’s undiagnosed bipolar and obsessive compulsive disorders, leading to a downward spiral that eventually landed him in a psychiatric ward.

Dillian put his life back together, returning to work healthier than ever before, but Lehman itself had seemingly gone mad, having made outrageous bets on commercial real estate, and was quickly headed for self-destruction.

A raucous account of the final years of Lehman Brothers, from 9/11 at its World Financial Center offices through the firm’s bankruptcy, including vivid portraits of trading-floor culture, the financial meltdown, and the company’s ultimate collapse, Street Freak is a raw, visceral, and wholly original memoir of life inside the belly of the beast during the most tumultuous time in financial history. In his electrifying and fresh voice, Dillian takes readers on a wild ride through madness and back, both inside Lehman Brothers and himself.

About Jared Dillian

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Jared Dillian is the founder of the subscription-based, daily financial market report The Daily Dirtnap. He worked on the Pacific Options Exchange from 1999 to 2000, and was a trader for Lehman Brothers from 2001 to 2008, specializing in index arbitrage and ETF trading. Dillian is a graduate of the United States Coast Guard Academy and earned a Masters in Business Administration from the University of San Francisco.  He lives in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Visit
Published September 13, 2011 by Touchstone. 370 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Business & Economics. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Lose money, bad.” This simplistic approach causes Dillian to view Wall Street as a land of squandered talent, in which money-grubbing citizenry sacrificed their potential to play the numbers.

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Publishers Weekly

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This revealing, personal memoir of a volatile period in the dual lives of a big-time trader and the fallen American giant Lehman Brothers is depicted in the fueled words of Dillian, a major figure at the company.

Aug 08 2011 | Read Full Review of Street Freak: Money and Madne...

BC Books

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He briefly touchesd on that with his one page epilogue (well, okay, one full page plus four lines on a second page).

Sep 03 2012 | Read Full Review of Street Freak: Money and Madne...

BC Books

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Street Freak: A Memoir of Money and Madness is a book from Jared Dillian that recounts his seven years as a trader on Wall Street for Lehman Brothers.

Sep 03 2012 | Read Full Review of Street Freak: Money and Madne...

City Book Review

Jared Dillian takes readers into an inside look at Lehman Brothers as the head trader from 9/11 through the firm’s bankruptcy, providing vivid portraits of the workers and the financial meltdown.

Sep 14 2011 | Read Full Review of Street Freak: Money and Madne...

Chicago Tribune

Though his story traces the arc of Lehman's last years, from the terrorist fireballs that engulfed its World Trade Center offices to its bankruptcy, the focus from start to finish is on Dillian's trade-to-trade conflict.

Sep 19 2011 | Read Full Review of Street Freak: Money and Madne...

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